From the Journals

Older age predicts mortality after alloHCT in NHL, but not relapse



Elderly patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are more likely to die, but not relapse, within 1 year of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT), compared with younger or middle-age patients, according to investigators.

Elderly man in hospital bed consults with doctor copyright claudiobaba/

Comorbidities also increased risks of nonrelapse mortality (NRM) at 1 year, but to a lesser extent than that of elderly status, reported lead author Charalampia Kyriakou, MD, PhD, of the department of haematology at University College London Hospital and London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust, and her colleagues.

“Although alloHCT is feasible and effective in very old patients, the increased NRM risk must be taken into account when assessing the indication for alloHCT for NHL in this age group,” the investigators wrote in Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.

This decision is becoming more common, they noted. “With the advent of reduced-intensity conditioning (RIC) strategies and other improvements in transplantation technology, alloHCT is being increasingly considered in elderly patients with [relapsed and refractory] NHL.”

The retrospective study analyzed 3,919 patients with NHL who underwent alloHCT between 2003 and 2013. Patients were sorted into three age groups: young (18-50 years), middle age (51-65 years), or elderly (66-77 years).

Disease types also were reported: 1,461 patients had follicular lymphoma (FL; 37%), 1,192 had diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL; 30%), 823 had mantle cell lymphoma (MCL; 21%), and 443 had peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL; 11%).

At the time of alloHCT, about 85% of patients were chemosensitive, with the remainder being chemorefractory. The age groups had similar patient characteristics, with exceptions noted for unrelated donors, MCL, and RIC, which became increasingly overrepresented with age.

The results showed that NRM at 1 year was 13% for young patients, 20% for middle-age patients, and 33% for elderly patients (P less than .001). Overall survival at 3 years followed an inverse trend, decreasing with age from 60% in young patients to 54% in middle-age patients, before dropping more dramatically to 38% in the elderly (P less than .001).

In contrast to these significant associations between age and survival, relapse risk at 3 years remained relatively consistent, with young patients at 30%, middle-age patients at 31%, and elderly patients at 28% (P = .355).

The investigators noted that the risk of NRM increased most dramatically between middle age and old age, with less significant differences between the middle-age and young groups. They suggested that “age per se should have a limited impact on the indication for alloHCT for NHL in patients up to age 65 years.”

The increased risk with elderly status could not be fully explained by comorbidities, although these were more common in elderly patients. After analyzing information from a subset of patients, the investigators concluded that “the presence of comorbidities is a significant risk factor for NRM and survival, but this does not fully explain the outcome disadvantages in our [elderly] group.” Therefore, age remains an independent risk factor.

“The information provided in this cohort of patients with NHL, the largest reported to date, is useful and relevant, especially in the era of evolving therapies,” the investigators wrote. They added that the information is “even more relevant now with the availability of treatment with ... chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells ... after relapse post-alloHCT.”

The investigators reported having no financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Kyriakou C et al. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2018 Sep 13. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2018.08.025.

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